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PAC-to-PAC bill clears committee
Legislator trying for sixth time to stop transfer of political action committee money

By M.J. Ellington
mjellington@decaturdaily.com (334)-262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Six could be Rep. Jeff McLaughlin's magic number if voters send a message to the Alabama Senate.

This is the sixth year McLaughlin, D-Guntersville, has attempted to stop political action committees from transferring money to each other.

Wednesday McLaughlin's one-page HB 120 banning such transfers cleared the House Constitution and Elections Committee. It awaits second reading in the House.

The full House passed the measure each of the past five years only to have the bill die in the Senate.

McLaughlin said he hopes the sixth time will be the charm for the bill that caused such anxiety in the Senate in previous years and resulted in opposition from special interest groups.

After McLaughlin's bill cleared committee, Secretary of State Beth Chapman, a Republican, said she has another election reform provision that she hopes McLaughlin or another PAC-to-PAC transfer bill sponsor will add as an amendment.

Chapman wants the state to prohibit two or more PACs from having the same name. She said her office will send letters soon to at least five or six PACs because they share a name. She said contributors may be confused and send money to the wrong PAC in such cases, and she believes the practice makes it harder for people to track PAC contributions.

McLaughlin said he is interested in the provision, but he will deal with it in another bill. He wants to keep this one simple.

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